Jataka Tales: The Buddha’s many lives

Once upon a time, an acorn fell on top of a little bird named Chicken Little and he thought the skies were coming down. He made a huge commotion and set the other animals running as well. This story is a part of Aesop’s Fables. But even before Aesop and Chicken Little, there was a hare in an Indian Jungle who feared that doomsday was … Continue reading Jataka Tales: The Buddha’s many lives

Mark Twain in Mumbai

This picture shows you, what used to be the grand Watson’s Hotel in Bombay. This ghost of a building known today as Esplanade Mansion, quietly awaits its fate in the Fort area of Mumbai. But before its sad demise, the hotel saw many glittering days and equally glittering people. In 1896, an American author and satirist came to India. He had made much money in … Continue reading Mark Twain in Mumbai

Chennai Genesis

Before Madras became Chennai in 1996, Madrasapattinam had to become Madras. How did this historic city begin? The story of Madras began in 1644 with Fort St. George. The British East India Company had been around since the 1600s and was aggressively expanding its business in the East Indies which included present day Eastern India and South East Asia. Securing land for ports at strategic … Continue reading Chennai Genesis

The Story of Polo: To the world via India

The modern game of Polo is played in at least 77 countries including India, Argentina, the USA and the UK. It was even part of the Olympics between 1900 and 1936. But where did it all start? The very first Polo tournaments were played in Persia or modern-day Iran by tribal nomads. The warlike tribesmen played the game with as many as 100 players to … Continue reading The Story of Polo: To the world via India

Following the Lotus around the world

The Lotus is India’s floral VIP. Hindu Gods are often shown seated or standing on a blooming lotus or holding one. In Hinduism the flower represents beauty and purity. The supreme Hindu God of creation, Brahma is said to have emerged from inside a lotus. But the lotus as a religious symbol is not limited just to Hinduism or even to India. In fact it … Continue reading Following the Lotus around the world

Against all odds: The Danes in Tranquebar

The year was 1616. The Dutch and the English were bringing home shiploads of goods from the mystical lands of the east. News of India’s riches had spread like wildfire in Europe and everyone wanted to get on the next ship to this golden land. So, by order of the King of Denmark and Norway, admiral Ove Gjedde did just that. The journey however, turned … Continue reading Against all odds: The Danes in Tranquebar

Malik Ambar – The African who built Aurangabad

Trade between Asia and Africa in the 16th century involved precious things like spices, fabric and exotic animals. But often, the cargo included something far more valuable and tragic. Abyssinian Slaves. Purchased from the Ethiopian Empire, these slaves were shipped to large slave markets in the Persian Gulf. Here, wealthy men from Asia and parts of Europe took their pick to add to their household … Continue reading Malik Ambar – The African who built Aurangabad

Not so French Toast

The French have been credited with inventing the most marvellous things including Asprin and Hot Air Balloons. But when it comes to French Toast the credit appears to lie somewhere else entirely. Where exactly? Your guess is as good as mine. Or it could be Ancient Rome, anywhere between the 1st and the 8th centuries. Somewhere within these 800 years, a compilation of Roman recipes … Continue reading Not so French Toast

The Wolves of the Carnatic

In the 18th century, the British established the Madras Presidency on the South Eastern Coast of India. The Carnatic, though part of the presidency, was ruled independently by the Nawab of Arcot, Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah. He became great friends with the British in the 1750s, after they helped him acquire larger territories by defeating his rivals during the Siege of Arcot. But everything has … Continue reading The Wolves of the Carnatic